A strike at a supermarket chain with stores in Northern California and Nevada is over after workers and the company reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.
Raley's and the United Food and Commercial Workers union announced the deal on Tuesday. Union officials said that picket lines would immediately be withdrawn from all Raley's and Nob Hill stores.
The parties did not provide any details of the settlement. However, the union says it was able to retain one of its most important benefits, a union-run health plan.
The grocery chain and UFCW returned to the bargaining table over the weekend in San Francisco following the Nov. 4 strike.
The two sides had been at odds over wages and benefits, including Raley's proposal to eliminate health care benefits for retirees eligible for Medicare.
Negotiators with Raley’s Family of Fine Stores and the United Food and Commercial Workers announced the 9-day old grocery strike was over.
“This is very exciting because this contract provides us with the cost savings we need to fund our vision and the initiatives to make us more competitive in the 21st Century,“ said Mike Teel, president of Raley’s of Family Fine Stores.
He added, “I greatly appreciate the incredible effort put forth by our employees and company during this time as well as thank the many customers who continued to support us. As one of the last large family-owned grocery chains, it will be great to have everyone back working again.”
The agreement will not be made public until it is ratified by the Union members, ends 15 months of negotiations between the two sides.
The Union will recommend ratification to its members with a vote to occur at a date to be decided in the near future. The agreement will also be shared with the union members working at Bel Air, a grocery store chain owned by Raley’s, which was not part of the strike.
This dispute marked the first strike in the history of the 77-year old company. In recent years, there has been a huge increase of more than 240 non-union retailers either opening or expanding their stores specifically to sell groceries.
This, coupled with the recession and skyrocketing health care costs, created a number of issues which both the store and the union had to work through.
Said Teel, “It is important to remember that everyone including our employees, our customers, our company and the communities we serve have suffered in this labor dispute. So, it gives me great pleasure to know that as of today our employees will be back to work serving our customers with the same attention and care as we have always served our customers at Raley’s and Nob Hill.”